France demands "clarification" on fate of Chad opposition figures

Other News Materials 12 February 2008 18:51 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - France on Tuesday demanded that the Chadian government provide "clarification" on the whereabouts of three opposition politicians arrested during the recent fighting between forces loyal to President Idriss Deby and rebel troops.

"This clarification, we have demanded it and we now want it to come without delay," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani told journalists in Paris.

Andreani said Paris wanted "precise information regarding the reasons" the three were arrested, on where they were being held and what judicial procedures Chadian authorities were considering opening against them.

The web site of the weekly Le Nouvel Observateur identified the three as former Chadian president Lol Mahamat Choua, former minister and spokesman for the opposition coalition Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, and opposition lawmaker Ngarlejy Yorongar.

Witnesses said the three were taken from their homes - and roughly treated - by armed and uniformed men during the fighting in the capital N'Djamena on February 2 and 3.

France provided logistical and intelligence support to Deby's forces, and according to one French media report some of its special forces actually took part in the combat.

On Monday, European Development Commissioner Louis Michel had demanded the "immediate liberation" of the three opposition politicians.